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January 22, 2024

UMF awarded $2.2M grant to improve outcomes for first-year students

Courtesy / UMF The University of Maine at Farmington is a public liberal arts college with over 1,000 undergraduate students.

The University of Maine at Farmington has received a $2.2 million federal grant to develop an initiative aimed at improving educational outcomes for first-year students. 

The new "Belonging Initiative" started with spring-semester students and focuses on improving student persistence, providing college and professional skills, increasing student confidence in their career pathways, and providing a welcoming, holistic environment where students can thrive.

During the fall semester, the program will launch a First Year College Success Skill Lab. This initiative will help provide basic college skills to all first-year students while facilitating student access to campus resources. The Skill Lab will be integrated with first-year seminars, assisting students to learn about time management and stress reduction.

“This grant is focused on creating a climate of support in which students will develop the essential skills they need to accomplish their college goals and achieve success in a meaningful career,” said Steven Quackenbush, UMF associate provost and dean of arts and science.

The Skills Lab will teach students how to use the career center, emphasizing advising, choosing a major and career development. The grant also includes support for an advisor who will counsel adult learners, veterans, parents, transfer students, and first-generation and historically underrepresented students.
The university received the five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education Title III Strengthening Institutions Program.

“We are putting in place programs to give first-year students the skills they need to persist in their university education and succeed in their careers,” said Joseph McDonnell, UMF president. “This grant will provide resources to make UMF an even more attractive learning community for students.”

The University of Maine at Farmington is a public liberal arts college offering teacher education, human services and arts and sciences programs.

UMF was ranked No. 13 among the state's largest colleges and universities in the 2024 Mainebiz Book of Lists. The rank was based on UMF's enrollment in fall 2023 of 1,008 full-time undergraduate students.

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